Curry Chicken

Curry chicken and plantains plated

One of the first West Indian dishes that I ate after embracing my Antiguan heritage  was Curry Chicken.  Growing up in Michigan with my Antiguan dad and American mom, I typically ate mostly American cuisine, and occasionally had an island themed beef patty.  Even on trips to visit my grandmother in Jamaica Queens, I only ate the beef patties.  Until one summer, my aunt in Elmont NY cooked curry chicken, and my parents were not around.  My sister and I didn’t know what it was, and went with the flow of my cousins and uncle at the table.  The minute we tasted the curry chicken, we were in love.  We never used hot sauce until we saw our family in New York using it, now I order multiple bottles at a time from our favorite hot sauce brand Susie’s (made in Antigua).  You want to talk about eye opening.  I think this experience probably opened my eyes to trying different types of food and trying to make more Caribbean dishes.Seasoned curry chicken

Curry Chicken Recipe

4 chicken thighs

Jamaican Curry Powder

1 medium sized onions thinly sliced

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 scotch bonnet pepper, diced finely

8 whole allspice berries

salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup canned coconut milk

Seasoning the Chicken

Salt and pepper the chicken, and coat the chicken with curry powder and place the chicken in a plastic container or bag.  Place the sliced onions, scotch bonnet, allspice berries, and thyme sprigs into container with the chicken.  Allow the chicken to sit overnight while refrigerated.

Cooking the Chicken

On medium high heat add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan, and 2 tbsp of curry powder to toast, once you smell the aroma, add the chicken to brown on all sides, and add the rest of the contents of the plastic container to the pan.  Once the chicken is browned, add water to just cover the chicken and bring to a boil, lower the heat to allow the chicken to simmer.  When the chicken has cooked through and is almost falling off of the bone (in about an hour) add the coconut milk, and simmer for 20 more minutes.  Taste, and determine if the level of heat is to you liking, if it needs more heat, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.  I’ll blog about Susie’s separately…yum.

 

Curry Chicken Plated

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken completed
I know the stuff in the jar is easier, I get it.  I’ve been trying to be very aware of what I eat and the ingredients in all of my food.  I used to keep a jar of the marinade just in case I needed to taste the flavors of  Jamaica.

After a few adjustments, I have settled on the jerk flavor that I enjoy, sweet, smokey, with a nice punch of heat, and it’s my own recipe.

Although jerk marinade requires several ingredients, putting it together is simple.

Jerk Marinade

½ cup olive oil

½ cup soy sauce

juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup white vinegar

4 scotch bonnets

6 garlic cloves

10 sprigs thyme

5 scallions

1/2 large onion

30 allspice berries smashed

1 sticks of cinnamon (1 tsp)

1/2 nutmeg

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. fresh grated ginger

2 tsp. black peppercorns

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Old Bay

Add all ingredients to a  high powered blender and blend until smooth.  You can ground the cinnamon and allspice berries separately if you do not have a high powered blender.

I know many will say thats not how you make jerk marinade, but everyone has different recipes, and honestly if it taste good, that is all that matters.  Enjoy!

grilling jerk chicken

Barnola Granola

Whenever I learn of someone or something being associated with my dads home country, Antigua & Barbuda, I am instantly intrigued.  A few months ago my sister told me about Barnola, a great granola company.  Barnola is a love note to Aisha Thompson’s childhood.  The Antiguan born owner of Barnola developed the flavors with inspiration from her childhood in the islands.  I purchased the several flavors, however, I had to do a blog post after my first sample of the first package that I opened,  Island Spice.  When I tell you this granola is like no other granola I have had.  You know how a lot of the artisan made granolas, are chewy and a little harder to chew?  This one was so crispy, it really added a proper crunch to the yogurt that I added the granola to.  Island Spice is described on the Barnola website as “Inspired by the Caribbean, this flavor explodes with warm spices like ginger and nutmeg. Add warmth to any time of the day, pair with milk for breakfast, yogurt or just grab and go for an any time of the day snack.”  a perfect description.  If you like a good crunchy snack, or want to try something different from breakfast, Barnola is a great option.  Other available flavors are Nutty Orange, Chocolate Indulgence,  Rosemary Almond,  and the seasonal flavor Pumpkin Crunch.  My next purchase will be to try the bars, that come in Pumpkin N’ Seed flavor.  Aisha Thompson, you have a winner with this granola… 2 words THE CRUNCH, thats all.  If you want to order Barnola visit the site, they come in resealable bag to help you keep the freshness.  I think I will try the Chocolate Indulgence next, on top of some ice cream… yaaaassssssss.

If you are like me, I prefer a sweeter yogurt, while I am trying to have self control and not overindulge.  I add agave nectar to my greek yogurt to give it a little bit of sweetness, and everything is better with cinnamon, well not everything, but most things.

Yogurt Snack

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1 tsp agave nectar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup blueberries or any fresh berry

2 tbsp Barnola

Trinidadian Doubles


The popular street food of Trinidad and Tobago, is something that I have been wanting to recreate for years.  With travel being so expensive, I find that food can take you on a quick trip anywhere you want.  And as the weather gets a little for Fall like, I have been thinking of the Caribbean.  I started on my Caribbean flavor trip to Trinidad.  My next flavor trips will take us to Jamaica, and my dads home country the island of Antigua.

If you have never tried doubles, you have to give them a try, they are what I call the Trini Taco, the fried bread is the vessel for stewed chick peas in a delicious spicy gravy.  The doubles can be topped with different chutney’s or sauces.  I made a traditional tamarind chutney for a sweet heat to top this tasty snack.  Doubles are typically eaten for breakfast or lunch, and as a special late night snack, but doesn’t this look way better than that late night fast food joint with the bell?

Doubles ingredients

Although there are a few components to build a double, it is well worth it, and each component was pretty easy to make.

Stewed Chana

Trinidadian Doubles Fried Bread

Stewed Curry Chickpeas

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tablespoon curry powder

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 large diced onion

3 garlic cloves minced

1 teaspoon of ground all spice

8 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 drained cans of chick pea

2 cups of water

1 tsp of hot sauce

1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper

2 scallions or green onions

Over medium high heat, cook the onion, garlic, and all of the spice until the onions have softened and become translucent.  Add the drained chickpeas scallions, pepper, and hot sauce, stir and add water.  Allow the peas to come to a boil and then allow to simmer.

Fried Bread

3 cups of flour

1 1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1 packet of active yeast

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground white pepper

1 cup of warm water

1 tablespoon of honey

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add honey and water until a dough is developed.  coat the dough in oil and allow it to rest and proof in a warm area for an hour.  Roll dough into 15 even balls.  Heat oil in a shallow frying pan to prepare to fry the bread.  Begin rolling the balls of dough flat and fry for 15-30 sec on each side.

Tamarind Sauce

9 tamarind pods

1 1/2 cups of water

3 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 scotch bonnet or habanero

3 culantro leaves

Empty all of the tamarind pods into a frying pan with the water, bring to a slow boil while stirring.  Once all of the pods are in the pan and the water is boiling, allow the water and tamarind pods to boil for 4 minutes or until the pits begin to separate from the tamarind.  Remove the pits, add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.  When the ingredients are a smooth texture, bring the chutney to a simmer in sauce pan.

 

 

 

Darius Cooks Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Let me just tell you, I am a fan of Darius Cooks.  His food is delectable, simple, and approachable.  If you are not familiar with his talent, you will soon learn more about him.

banana cake Darius Cooks Vanilla Buttermilk CakeI have never believed that I was much of a baker, but after watching Darius whip up a vanilla cake in minutes and toss it in the oven, I had to give it a try.  After the first successful attempt at Darius Cooks Vanilla Cake from his cookbook Stories From My Grandmothers Kitchen, I decided to repeat the recipe, but this time I added bananas and warm fall spices (cinnamon and nutmeg).  I topped the cake with cream cheese frosting and blended the warm spices in it as well.  I love that Darius’ recipe can be transformed in so many ways.  I think next time I will try to take it a different direction and add citrus, or apple, or even pumpkin for the fall season.  banana cake slice Darius Cooks Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

I am slowly working my way thru some of Darius Cooks recipes, and I say slowly because everything in his cook book looks so delicious, and the way my self control is setup, the daily workouts would be a serious struggle.  I just made the Butter Pecan Cornbread, two weeks ago and since then have made it 3 more times.  Other amazing recipes that you will find in Stories From My Grandmother’s Kitchen are Darius’ Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese, and Cornmeal Crusted Pork Chops.  The food in this cookbook will absolutely be a crowd pleaser.  And for more amazing sweet delights and tasty savory options head over to The Black Food Network, where Darius has started showcasing other amazing culinary creatives great food.

 

Dorothy Cann Hamilton Lived in Her Purpose

The late Dorothy Cann Hamilton

Photo cred: International Culinary Center

Dorothy Cann Hamilton Founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center, what a loss.  This morning I woke up like I usually do.  I flipped through all of the eventful things that my social media connections did through out the night.  My heart sunk when I came across a 5 day old status of one of the many chefs that I admire on Instagram.  The post had the great picture of Hamilton in that “sugar sharp, smart” kelly green jacket paying respect to her memory.  That photo was the first photo that introduced me to Ms. Hamilton last year, when I began my journey of discovering my passion.

March of 2015 I began the process of competing to be a student at The International Culinary Center, on The Rachael Ray Show.  One of the tasks that I had to complete was write my admissions essay on why I wanted to attend culinary school, why ICC specifically, and finally what I wanted to do as a graduate of The International Culinary Institute.  That essay made me really sit in this and contemplate, but also research.  Part of my research to understand what ICC could offer me, brought me to the website.  The ICC website was where my dreams turned into reality.  I researched ICC years prior as The French Culinary Institute, but I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have the love for cooking then like I do now.  I think I even attended an open house years ago.  Anyway, as I was researching why I should be admitted to ICC now, I came across Chef’s Story, a podcast on the website.

Chef’s Story was a one on one interview of a successful chef interviewed by a very knowledgable, food power hustler named Dorothy Cann Hamilton.  I’m not sure how I figured out that the voice was the Founder and CEO of this amazing school that I could see myself stepping into my purpose in.  By listening to these interviews that Dorothy led, it allowed each chef to step listeners thru how they discovered their passion for food.  The weekend that I prepared my essay I must have listened to 30 interviews as I sat on my couch trying to find the perfect words to describe how much I was sure of my desire to cook, and to learn at ICC.  Listening to the interviews that Dorothy held with many chefs that I admire, and some that I hadn’t heard of but began following, allowed me, the listener to get to know that she was friendly, warm, funny, very well travelled, highly creative and didn’t let much stop her from building one of the best culinary schools in the US.  I also learned that she didn’t mind a little foul language from the chefs that stopped by to tell their stories, so she was no prude.

When I was selected as a finalist, I knew that my time listening to Chef’s Story after Chef’s Story that weekend helped me to understand the possibilities and  to brighten my passion to cook and attend ICC.  When I didn’t win the competition, I was not really sad, because the entire process allowed me to understand my purpose.  I was and am so sure that I will attend ICC that after not winning the competition on the show I connected with Dorothy Cann Hamilton on LinkedIn, just because I knew she would know me eventually.

The culinary world has certainly gained an angel, and even though I never met her or even stood in the same room as her, as an admirer of her entrepreneurial endeavor of The International Culinary Center, and her love of life and learning, I will miss hearing her voice on new episodes of Chef’s Story on Heritage Radio.  And the loss of this culinary icon speaks to the need for everyone and anyone to live for today, and when you identify your purpose in this life, do everything and anything you can to live in that purpose, because Dorothy did.

Apple Galette Feelin Kinda Fancy

I was feelin’ fancy and since I am back to my health focus, I figured why not make a fattening dessert that others could enjoy. I canada pharmacy online decided to use a crust that I needed to do something with and make an apple galette, since I have always wanted to attempt this rustic elegant dessert. This dessert was so good, I didn’t even sample it before I took it to work for my coworkers to enjoy, for fear that I would eat the entire thing myself. 6 apples, peeled and sliced thin 2 tsp of cinnamon 1 cup of canadianpharmacyonline-rx sugar 1 lemon, juiced and zested 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp of salt 1 egg yolk for brushing the crust turbinado sugar for the crust 4 tbsp of butter, cut in small pieces 2 pie crusts rolled out into 1 Caramel Drizzle 1 cup brown sugar 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter 1/4 cup whole milk dressed fruit After slicing the apples, I tossed apples with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, zest and juice of one lemon homemade crust I rolled the crust out and put it on a baking sheet with parchment paper. The recipe that I always go to for any pie is from Martha Stewart, it is flakey and generic cialis very easy. Apple Galette ready for the oven After the apples were piled in the center of the rolled out dough, the crust is formed around the apples and the butter was dotted all over the apples. Finished Apple Galette After the galette was in the 375 deg oven for 15 minutes, I brushed the crust with the beaten egg yoke. Once natural pharmacy canada the crust was completely coated sprinkle turbinado sugar and let the galette continue to bake for an additional cialis-topstorerx.com 25-35 minutes or until the apples were tender and the crust was tadalafil dosage golden. Apple Galette Finished To bring it up to another delicious level, I melted a cup of brown sugar and a stick of butter. Once the the sugar was melted into the butter, I added the milk and stirred to combine. When the caramel is at a consistency for drizzling take it off of the stove and drizzle on the galette for a viagra-bestrxonline.com beautiful finish.

Back on Track – Asian Stir Fry

Yep, I know, I have been totally MIA accept for random shares on my Facebook page. I have been taking care of a great deal of personal life stuff. But I am back, and refocused on myself. I have been getting more consistency in the gym, and have dialed in the healthy food choices, so I wanted to share one of my meal choices with you, its an awesomely quick stir fry. Last week after my evening http://canadianpharmacyonline-rx.com/ workout at the gym, I needed a quick meal packed with protein and healthy carbs. So I whipped up a quick Asian stir fry and I have to say, I impressed myself viagra rezeptfrei online kaufen with creating this dish with no recipes. Asian tadalafilcialis-storerx.com Beef Stir Fry 2 Tbsp of Coconut Amino (healthy soy replacement) 2 tsp fish sauce 1 tsp of honey 1 clove of garlic (grated) 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch 4 oz of top sirloin does cialis work with low testosterone beef strips 1 cup of broccoli florets 1 med bell pepper cut in strips 1/2 zucchini (I had it so I threw it in) handful of green beans 2 teaspoons of sesame flomax viagra oil pinch of red pepper flakes (late thought, after I took the picture) Ingredients for stir fry   Vegetables cooking in sesame oil Once the beef has been browned in 1 tsp of the sesame oil and set aside, add all of the cut vegetables http://tadalafilcialis-storerx.com/ to the hot pan. vegetable with beef When the veggies begin to viagra south africa cook through in the remaining sesame oil add the beef back to the pan, and let the veggies continue to cook. When the veggies cook through and become tender add the mixture of ginger, garlic, aminos, red pepper flakes, corn starch, and fish sauce to the pan, and toss the veggies an meat in the pan to coat it all. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. This meal was filling and was perfect for a post workout meal. I hope to continue to share more ideas that are helping me get back on track in hopes that I can help some of you do the same. Feel free to comment with any suggestions that you would like to see going forward.  

Foodie Engineer Visits Rachael Ray (Day 2)

In my previous post about my trip to the Rachael Ray show I shared my experience and excitement of the first of 2 days as a guest on The Rachael Ray show. I left off concluding the first part of the competition. The next and final part of the competition continued early the next day. We started out in hair and makeup with some fantastic ladies that are great at what they do. Of course there was a lot of waiting, and we actually walked into the building right behind our new best friend Chef Jacques Pépin, he noticed us first and called us over to greet us. Pepin When it was finally time to proceed, during a break, we walked out in front of the live studio audience, can you say “nervous”, because thats what I was, I mean sweating nervous. We were quickly introduced to Rachael and at this point we already knew what the challenge was so we quickly walked thru the kitchens we were to be working in. The final challenge was to repeat yesterday’s challenge and include the suggestions Chef Pépin had for us the day prior, in front of this studio audience…OMG!!. I chose to pair down my food, and focus on the white meat only, and add a sauce to my mushrooms that I didn’t over cook this time around, using white wine and butter (nod to Julia Childs). I had just enough time to taste the sauce and realize it was too salty, and correct it at the last 30 seconds before I plated. Overall I was proud of my dish, Rachael Ray even complimented me on my plating. The play by play can be seen on my youtube channel (youtube.com/foodieengineer).

Set Pic 6

Yes my eyes are closed, they will be open next time I am on the show (wink wink, #speakit #faith)

In the end I didn’t take home the big win, but I won so much along the way. The experience of a life time to meet the world famous, Chef Jacques Pépin, the exposure of a great show that is watched by many, and most of all the opportunity to realize my passion and purpose on this journey. Plus, I fell in love with the idea of culinary school. When I tell you I sleep better knowing, I know the goal, and all I have to do is execute the plan to get there. This experience has only ignited the fire that began as a spark with me in the kitchen just having a great time. I guess I should tell you what I didn’t win. The winner of the competition received a 5 day culinary vacation to Cancun for 2, and full tuition to The International Culinary Center’s Culinary Arts Program. However, for being top 3, we all received a ton of Rachael Ray Cookware. Now, I am working on menus to begin sharing my food with more people so that I can build my skills and get ready for culinary school. My plan after completing culinary school is to begin my own high end catering business, though it will take some time, I am willing to put in the effort to reach my goal, and truly live in my purpose. In an upcoming post I will share all of the goodies that Rachael Ray gave us to take home and cook with.

Summer Dessert Blueberry Pie

plated blue berry pie

Summer Dessert Blueberry Pie
Delicious blueberry pie that is certain to be a crowd pleaser at a summer gathering, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you can not go wrong.
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2½ tsp sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¼ cup ice cold water
  • Pie Filling
  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • 3½ tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 3 pints fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Pie Crust
  2. In a food processor add butter, flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse the mixture until it comes to a sand consistency. Slowly pour the ice cold water as you continue to pulse the food processor, until a dough is formed. Separate the dough into 2 even balls and press them out into disks, wrap them individually in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Pie filling
  4. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Pour the sugar mixture over the blueberries in a large bowl, and coat the blueberries with the mix. Add the lemon juice. Prepare the pie crust by rolling out one disk, use flour to ensure that the dough doesn't stick to the surface that you are using to roll it out. Place the rolled out dough into a pie plate (I used a glass plate) add the blueberry mixture to the pie plate, roll out the second crust and place over the fruit filling. Cut vents into the pie crust to allow steam to evacuate.